Our Impromptu Fall Disney Vaca Can’t Come Soon Enough! T-Minus….

After a summer of packing, inspections, house selling, house buying, renovations, and unpacking, I for one am so excited to welcome fall into our lives. We’re celebrating our very first season in our brand new house! And with renovations completed, and only finishing touchings and decorating to do, it’s definitely starting to feel like home. The kitchen of my dreams has been cooked in, our dining room table has been home to several family dinners, and our toddler has been busy practicing her “Super Feet” as she calls them by running laps downstairs with her little sister, our tiny toddler, chasing behind her. I’m just loving all of these new memories!

The downside with this whole new house thing, lots of baby proofing to do and I mean lots. But aside from the steps, outlets, and sharp edges, our new house is definitely our new home, especially for our oldest. I was so worried about how she’d handle a new house, first day of preschool, and dance all in one, but turns out I have one heck of a little girl because she took it all like a champ. She’s loved every bit of it and couldn’t have made Mommy, Daddy, and Sissy prouder. 

So to reward all of us after such a hectic, stressful, and exhaustion filled few months, we decided to use some of our spare DVC points on a surprise Halloween Disney vaca! We planned this vaca months ago pre-move and thought it would be a fun way to unwind after such a busy summer and now that we’re just two weeks away, we could not be more relieved for our reservation. And even more fun, it’s a total surprise for our two Disney darlings, which I know for our baby the surprise factor isn’t such a big deal but for her older sister, who happens to love surprises and love Disney even more, this couldn’t be more exciting!

Those Disney days are calling my name with all of their amazing food, fun, and family time. I can’t wait to leave the house lists, doctor’s appointments, errand running, and drop offs behind for just a little while to spend some much needed time together, just us four. We’ll see you soon Disney!





Magic Kingdom Fun With A Cinderella’s Castle Dinner: 2016 Disney Vacation Wrap Up!

With Mickey balloon in hand we were off for a full day from extra magic hours until bedtime in Magic Kingdom, plus a midday swim break. No Magic Kingdom day is complete without a pre-opening train station pic and a hustle back to your early morning rides. We managed to squeak in some family favorites just before baby sister dozed off and our big girl aka Splash Mountain first timer was off for some Daddy time. Me and my little mini rolled through some air conditioned stores and headed back to catch a classic photo op of my toddler’s first time down Splash Mountain’s big hill. And lucky for Daddy, it was a hit! Our three old loves herself some speedy rides as she calls them, which is magic to her Daddy’s ears who finally has himself a ride partner, since this Mommy here is more a Pirates, Mine Train, Little Mermaid kind of girl.  Disney 2016 (60)

Once a morning of rides and a cat nap were through it was lunch time. Lunch is usually the most challenging meal for me. Don’t get me wrong Disney definitely has plenty of gluten free options but 7 days of the heavier lunches is just too much for me. Instead I many a time, reluctantly enjoy a snack lunch aka Dole Whips or Popcorn (wink wink) or a turkey leg. Meanwhile the little ones are content munching on fresh fruit, light sandwiches, or Mickey pretzels. The good part about the lighter fare, they are easily enjoyed on the go or on a nice shaded bench, a welcomed short break from the tiring Disney hiking and sweating. To break up our 90 degree+ day we decided to head back to our Polynesian home away from home for a midday swim break before dinner at the castle. 

Another bonus for staying at the Polynesian, their amazing pools! Our studio was just outside the newly renovated quiet pool and a only a short walk away from the volcano pool, another pro for a Tokelau studio! The girls loved all of the water days this trip, so some pool time was always welcomed. And a certain someone had so much fun splashing around that she crashed as soon as it was time for dinner, never an optimal time for a nap but especially when we’re talking about an over tired toddler. Needless to say we were dreading waking her up for dinner, seeing as that can be like dealing with a ravenous tiger at times. So to give some extra nap time we decided to do a photo op of our tiny Belle, courtesy of an over generous photopass photographer! Disney 2016 (11)

I couldn’t have asked for a better photographer who took nearly 200 shots of our little one. We got some beautiful classics with her first Mickey ears (only wish we could crop out all of the walkers, but alas what’s a Disney pic without the crowds). And when I say this photographer was fantastic, I mean laying on the ground, staging pics with mom and dad, and even a winner with a sleeping sissy. She was just wonderful, and it was such a treat to meet her! Disney 2016 (14)

Soon enough it was time for our much anticipated Cinderella’s Castle dinner! And yes waking our toddler was much like I imagined/dreaded but thankfully she came around soon enough to enjoy all of her favorite princesses. Okay, food wise, dinner was okay. It definitely was delicious, but I’ve had better at the royal table. First up was the Castle Salad, a huge portion of mixed greens, apples, cucumbers, candied walnuts, and cheese all tossed in a delicious vinaigrette. I’m a salad person, so this was one of my favorite parts of the meal. For my entree I opted for the pork tenderloin, normally I go the steak route but I wanted a change. Not sure what it was but the pork definitely wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be. It was just okay, nothing spectacular. However the dessert, a flourless chocolate cake fit for royalty, was just as perfect as I remember. Light just like a cake should be, not your typical dense texture that flourless cakes are known for. Delicious!

Even though my entree wasn’t as perfect as I’d hoped, a dinner at Cinderella’s castle is a pretty hard thing to mess up. Between the magic of dining in a castle, meeting princess after princess, and watching your two miniature princesses love every bit of it, a less tasty entree didn’t take too much away from anything. So once we had finished our dinner we opted for a late night of rides and the parade (which I’m devastated will no longer be a Disney World special, we love this one). The girls loved the Electrical Parade, especially our toddler who waves ecstatically the entire parade, even at the non-costumed Disney cast members just walking alongside. Our sweet little Belle had a pretty special first viewing of the parade herself, getting sweet kisses and waves from a few of our favorites. Some of our best Disney memories are from this parade so we’re sad to see it go but hoping that’ll make room for lots of new experiences! Disney-2016-12-683x1024 Still to come, my first gluten free beignets, cheese steak sandwich, and naan, and so much more. Pardon the extended posting but we’re in the throws of moving! Yup, we’re closing on our current and our new home in just a few weeks. Stressful yes, especially with two tinies, but so exciting. Can’t wait to share the next chapter of it all!



Plan Your Disney Vaca Today With Disney’s Free Planning DVD!!!!!

And my least favorite part of vacation has arrived, the return. While we love our house, family, and fur baby that we leave behind, leaving Disney World after a week of magic makes the return home so hard. It was an amazing vacation from start to finish and we officially have another Disney darling in our midst. Our sweet baby girl fell in love with the sights, sounds, and tastes that Disney World showed her and I for one can’t wait to see her love grow just like her sister’s. So what do you do whenever you return from an amazing vacation? Yup, start planning your next! And as DVC members we’ve already got our next vaca on the books! Disney

I think my favorite part of Disney vacations is that they’re for the young and young at heart. No matter your age or stage in life Disney’s magic works every time leaving no vacationer without a photo album full of memories. Even pre-babies Dan and I vacationed to Disney, mind you it was a totally different trip with a few less character interactions and a few more Epcot cocktails but even then being Disney kids for a week was right up our alley. We’ve had a lot of people ask us what we love about Disney and why we keep going back and it’s kind of a simple answer. A Disney trip is so much more than just the week your sleeping in a hotel; it’s the year before you’re picking your resort and room out, the months before you’re choosing your dining, the weeks before you’re picking your fastpasses and magic bands, and the days before you’re packing your best Disney attire, and then finally that epic week in the most magical place on earth has arrived. A Disney vacation gives you magical memories from Day 1 of planning and beyond. 

And since Disney World is a labyrinth of fun, food, and festivals they help you plan every detail of your trip. Their free planning DVDs are an amazing guide to what your Disney vacation could look like, from where you could stay and what experiences they offer to which rides you could pick up fastpasses for and the restaurants that you can choose from. Four theme parks, two water parks, over twenty amazingly themed Disney resorts, and over a hundred restaurants, there’s a lot to navigate through and this DVD does a great job in helping with those fun but tough choices. Huge planning helpers yes, but this DVD/online video is even better at building up the anticipation and excitement for your upcoming trip. I just got back and within the first 30 seconds of watching the video I found myself excited for our next vacation. 

So if you’re planning or just counting down until your next Disney vacation, take a look at this planning video. It’s FREE and gets you in the Disney spirit for all that’s in your future!




Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival Gluten Free & Fun: 2016 Disney Vaca Wrap Up!

A Disney day is by far one of our favorite kind of days around here, but for Dan and I, an Epcot day is in the top two of all Disney days. The food, the drinks, the World Showcase, and the rides, every bit of it we love and now our girls love too. Only one more thing can boost an Epcot day a little bit higher on our Disney scale and that’s a day at Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival! We’ve vacationed a few times now during this festival and have loved every second of it. Our toddler has enjoyed tons of different treats, live music, floral playgrounds, and topiaries that inspire our at home gardening, no not to Disney’s scale but a certain herb display had me thinking about a new garden next year. Lucky for us, Disney decided to extend their festival this year so our littlest family member could experience her first Disney festival! Disney 2016 (44)

Our next full day of Disney Vaca 2016 was our first Epcot day! We were greeted with some of the best topiaries yet, not to mention these amazing herb and flower displays which I’m already sweet talking my husband into helping me recreate at our new house next Spring. Once we were through the gates and under Epcot’s iconic landmark it was onto an early morning ride on The Land, Nemo, and Test Track and some meet and greets with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Baymax! For my toddler all of her friends were a huge hit, especially newbie Baymax who happens to star in one of her new favorite movies, and for her little sister, well she was cautiously happy to meet them as long as she was safe in Mommy’s arms.  Disney 2016 (45)

One of the flower/herb towers that little one happen to love too! Herb Display

Soon enough, World Showcase was opening and bellies all around were growling. Another bonus on top of the gorgeous topiaries everywhere, the food, some of which happens to be gluten free! Surrounding the lake are festival stands which note gluten free on all of their signage and in the food passports that you can pick up at any store or food stand.  Disney 2016 (56)

A tip, some of these gluten free items are safer than others. I always double check before I order anything anywhere, but especially at smaller stands like these, if there are chances for cross contamination. Some of the answers took a few things off my list but I was more than happy to avoid a possible run in with gluten.  Disney 2016 (57)

Thankfully, others were safe and delicious! Like Japan’s Frushi! For some reason this year this one wasn’t marked as gluten free but in past years it has been but thanks to my fellow gluten free Disney bloggers I had a heads up that it was still safe. So for starters on my Flower and Garden food adventure it was one plate of gluten free Frushi. Fresh pineapple, strawberry, and melon all rolled into some raspberry coconut rice with whipped cream on the side. First off, it looks beautiful, definitely sushi like minus the fish which is already a win in my book. It was definitely tasty but a little strange mostly because of the rice. I’m not a huge rice person anyway but the addition of the fruit, raspberry sauce, and whipped cream has made me more of a fan. Altogether pretty tasty and filling, until my next stop in Italy. Disney 2016 (72)

Okay Italy probably brought in the big win of the day with their gluten free food and drink options. Unlike a few others, this Disney vaca Mommy could enjoy a Mommy beverage, so that I did with a favorite of mine, the Bellini. And thanks to the festival I decided on the Cremoso al Pistacchio to go along with it. This sweet treat was amazing! Pistacchio cream with strawberries and marscarpone, perfect perfect perfect! Can you tell I liked it? And thankfully the girls had filled up on Norway bites and were on the verge of napping, otherwise I would’ve had to share this tiny tasting. Cheers to 5 minutes of Mommy time to enjoy this miniature delight and my Bellini! Disney 2016 (49) Disney 2016 (48)

We decided to opt for lighter snacks on our trip around the world on this particular Epcot day mainly because we had an early reservation at Italy’s Tutto Italia. So while I tried a few gluten free sweets, in true hubby style, Dan indulged in some savory delicacies, just enough to tide us over until dinner. While we snacked and our tiny girl napped we dodged in and out of the countries, getting a Duffy bear stamped, meeting a princess or two, and skipping out of the on and off rain storm. Finally it was time for a much anticipated dinner at Tutto Italia. We’ve dined at Tutto Gusto and have loved it so we decided to give it’s mother restaurant a try this time, especially since we never left Tutto Gusto disappointed. 

Whenever we dine in Epcot’s Tutto Gusto we’ve always been instantly transported back to our honeymoon and babymoon trips in Italy, and thankfully Tutto Italia did just the same. The authenticity of the menu options and delicious gluten free pasta brought me right back to one of our last dinners in Venice. And being an Italian who loves her cheese, pasta, and panna cotta, that can rarely get this combo in a farely non-gf US, I was pleasantly surprised by my choices at Tutto Italia. So no surprise, I started off with their Fior Di Latte Mozzarella, fresh mozzarella with roasted red peppers, basil, Maldon sea salt, and olive oil. One word, amazing! The mozzarrella was so flavorful and matched perfectly with the sweetness of the red peppers. Amazing! So much so I shared tiny bites with my girls! Also should mention that they offer some of the best fresh gluten free bread here just like their sister Tutto Gusto. Kind of the icing on the cupcake to these restaurants if you ask me. Disney 2016 (51)

Next up, the main course! While the girls nibbled on mouth watering chicken fingers and veggies, my Penne Caprese was delivered. Rice pasta with pomodoro sauce and burrata cheese, a regular for me now from Tutto Gusto but always a winner. I’m a creature of habit and tend to stick with what I know and love, and this I know and love. The pasta is always cooked to perfection and lathered in the most flavorful pomodoro sauce, and don’t get me started on the creamy burrata cheese on top. Disney 2016 (52)

Last but not least, dessert time! In the past at Tutto Gusto we’ve shared a chocolate and cherry panna cotta that was always my favorite. This time around they marked a different and somewhat surprised dessert option as gluten free. A vanilla and chocolate panna cotta with fresh strawberry compote and crumbled cookies on top, in it’s original version was gluten free! The cookies on top were actually almond-hazelnut meringue cookies which happened to be gluten free but after my first bite, I hesitantly waved the manager over for some questioning. After all, how often can us gluten free vacationers get cookie topping on our desserts? But sure enough these were gluten free cookies for certain which added the perfect crunch to one of my favorite desserts! Disney 2016 (53)

All together this was an amazing day of gluten free sweets and eats thanks to Epcot and it’s always wonderful Flower and Garden and Tutto Italia’s gluten free menu! Thankfully with our slightly longer trip we got to enjoy all of it that much longer and managed another whole Epcot day along with some nights here and there!

Disney 2016 (54)

Every trip I look back at our pictures in the weeks and months that follow, counting down the moments until we can return to Disney. And when I see these faces, these expressions make us want to keep going back. We’re making memories, all four of us. So thank you Disney for another wonderful day at Epcot, and stay tuned for more Disney fun! Disney 2016 (58)



Water Park Fun & Ohana: 2016 Disney Vacation Wrap Up!

Been a little bit since a Disney recap but with birthday celebrations and summer recoveries I’m finally looping back to our Disney vaca! With our first day of Magic Kingdom fun in the books, we were up and ready for our second day of water park fun and our first delicious gluten free dinner! Nothing beats the Florida heat then a morning at one of Disney’s water parks, and first up for us was Blizzard Beach.  Disney 2016 (6)

The water park was a huge hit this year, for one of our girls at least. While our toddler was running, swimming, sliding, floating, and tubing all over, her little sister was snug in Mommy’s arms slowly getting used to the water, splashing a bit in the kiddie zone, floating down the lazy river, and ending it all with a nap in Mommy’s arms. Bet not too many Disney goers can say they napped at a water park! Well my baby girl can!

Lunch is always my toughest meal on vaca. And even though there were definitely gluten free options at the water park of the chicken finger/ french fry variety, I was more in the mood for a light snack, so Disney popcorn it was. The salty, buttery popcorn is highly recommended for any Disney patron but if you’re gluten free, it’s a must! So after a late light lunch for all, it was back to the hotel to freshen up in our amazing studio, grab some fruity drinks at Trader Sam’s, and finally to enjjoy some dinner at Ohana! Disney 2016 (39)

With sangria, a toddler friendly slushie of some kind, and hubby’s favorite drink in a tiki man glass in hand we were seated for a much anticipated Ohana dinner. The chef was over shortly to go over my options and quickly after that my first round of food appeared. That’s one thing with Ohana, you won’t have an empty table for long, when food arrives, it keeps coming the whole dinner. The rolls were warmed well and with butter hit the spot perfectly since we were pretty much starving by this point. Next up, the salad, which I love! I could eat bowls and bowls of just the salad, topped with just the right amount of my favorite fruity dressing. Not too long after, some chicken wings with seasoned veggies arrived. The veggies I loved, the chicken wings had way too much seasoning for me, please keep in mind though that I’m super sensitive to any seasoning, so less is so much more for me. Next time I definitely have to remember to remind the chef of my preference but totally forgot.  Disney 2016 (40)

Finally it was time for the main course and what Ohana is known for, meat skewers! While all of the meats are gluten free, I’ve watched many a skewer touch down on plates that have gluten filled lomein on them, so I requested my very own portions of new meats. Grilled chicken and steak came out perfectly seasoned and cooked to perfection! And to sweeten our first Disney dinner a little more, the chef brought out a chocolate cookie ice cream dessert. Not nearly as appetizing as the mouth watering and legendary Ohana bread pudding but free of gluten and a sweet ending to my meal! Disney 2016 (41)

Altogether, great gluten free dinner but the highlights were my sweet little ones getting serenaded and participating in the coconut race, well our toddler at least. Amazing that last time at Ohana we had just one little girl who was only old enough to sit tableside and nibble on lettuce, bread, and noodles. Now we were back still with a high chair but with a new little one in it, amazing how fast time goes once your a parent. Disney 2016 (5)

Anyway, as soon as dinner was over we couldn’t wait to hop on the monorail to enjoy a night of fun at the Magic Kingdom. Nothing beats topping off a relaxing day of water fun then with a nighttime ride on Dumbo and the most amazing views of Cinderella’s castle!

Another amazing day in Disney! Stay tuned for more of our adventures!



Happy 1st Dumbo Birthday, Our Smallest Baby!

We’re on the mend! Okay so maybe it’s naive of me but I used to be of the mind, or maybe it was just my positive thinking, that sickies were usually a winter thing. I mean usually our worst colds come in the colder months so I guess statistically that’s true. And sadly, I’ve got a science brain so I’m well aware of how germs work but I blame my false theory on the mommy brain takeover. So what’s with all the sick talk? Well I’m unhappy to report that my girls have officially debunked my theory. That’s right, on the eve of my baby girl’s very first birthday the fever started and we knew we were in for a homebound birthday/week.

8 days, 2 sick girls, viruses, pnuemonia, and antibiotics later and we’re at the eve of a belated birthday day. Tomorrow we’ll pretend that it’s the actually day she’s turning one, presents and cake, the whole nine yards. Thankfully though, pre-sickness we had her big birthday party. I couldn’t think of anything sweeter for my newest Disney daughter than a Dumbo party. After all, Dumbo just so happened to be one of her favorite rides on our Spring trip! baby

My baby’s Dumbo festivities started with this adorable dress that we spotted in Disney. I couldn’t resist and just knew it would be perfect for my sweet angel’s special day. Once we got home and unpacked it was invitation time. I picked my favorite Disney picture of my baby and created an adorable Dumbo Disney postcard, topped off with a Fantasyland address and personalized Baby of Mine wording! DSC_0751

And finally the big day arrived. With tons of pink, mint green, and gold balloons and streamers we decided to go crazy decorating inside and out, after all our house is filled with winter birthdays so we really took advantage of her summer one. I also managed to find two adorable Dumbo prints to add. This top one is the ride poster from Disney that I enlarged and used to welcome everyone. The baby Dumbo we used for one of the games for the older kids, Pin the Feather on the Dumbo! So cute and our toddler and her cousins had the best time playing! DSC_0765

Thanks to a very special Nanny, we used a sweet nursery decoration with Dumbo and a circus tent to decorate our patio table, along with a basket full of water balloons. Between the water balloons and our new sprinkler the kids definitely had a great time, even the birthday girl who got a tiny toe or two wet in the sprinkler!  DSC_0759

Back inside I had the party table all set up with sweets and treats galore, topped off with handmade birthday banners, balloons, and streamers draped to look like a circus tent. Meanwhile outside it was cookout central, hamburgers, hot dogs, watermelon, and deviled eggs, everything a good cookout/circus party might need. Party Table

That husband of mine pitched in too and did a fabulous job with the streamers! Looked so good, just like the circus tent!  DSC_0734

And yet again Classic Cake Company did a wonderful job with her birthday cake! A pink hat Dumbo right in the front with Pink and gold Mickey balloons all around, a pink ruffle at the base, gold one on top, and can’t forget the peanuts all around. It was beautiful and I can imagine delicious, judging by her adorable cake face! DSC_0781

I picked up some popcorn containers that reminded of Disney Park originals, some hot roasted peanut bags stuffed with nutter butter cookies, and popcorn containers and gold mason jars that I filled with white and soft yellow carnations all clustered together to look like popcorn. A special touch was the Mickey and Minnie Dumbo salt and pepper shaker along with the pink tickets weaved throughout the table. DSC_0788

And one of my favorite additions was the Dumbo popcorn container straight from Disney, doesn’t get anymore Disney Dumbo than that. With allergy friendly popcorn and animal crackers, even my nephew with food allergies had something to munch on. But I left one more surprise for him in these homemade Dumbo gift bags. DSC_0787

With gray/silver gift bags and lots of pink, mint green, and gray scrapbook paper, I spent a few nap times putting together these adorable treats bags that, if I don’t say so myself, scream Dumbo. And my favorite are the hats which I drew myself! Small step for many but giant leap for this non-artsy sister out of my siblings. I decided to stuff them with a giant bag of Charms cotton candy and classic boxes of animal crackers, both allergy friendly for all!  DSC_0769

Decorations, Dumbo music, and treats aside, look at this beautiful smile. Nothing beats seeing your adorable little baby with a grin ear to ear in her very own set of Minnie ears! Nothing beats watching your baby turn 1 with family around us that love her just as much as we do! It was a beautiful day and I’m so blessed to have this beautiful little girl in my life! DSC_0809




I Would Change The World For My Girls

In light of the horrific tragedies of this week in Orlando I’ve decided to keep my Disney vaca posts in the queue until next week. But I wanted to share a quote that as a parent I found really appropriate and couldn’t be more fitting right now. 


Every single day I worry about my kids’ futures, their well being, their health, their happiness. I look at the world so differently now as a parent, wondering what mankind will look like as my children grow when today it’s so incredibly ugly. Not a day passes that we don’t hear of some act of violence or proclamations of hatred and it seems as of late these are becoming more and more frequent. I worry for my kids what world they’re going to live in and if this violence will end for them. I would do anything in my power to protect them from this horror but some day our world will be their world and what can I do for them then? 

I’ve noticed now more than ever the flaws in mankind, our inability to just be kind to one another, to genuinely appreciate each other, and to respect one another. People are so busy competing with one another, pulling other people down, judging, thinking they’re better, instead of realizing how wonderful the world could be without doing that. I’ve always said that I don’t see color, race, sexuality, I see if someone is kind, if they’re a good person. And my girls will do the same, no matter the world they live in, they will see people for who they are and hopefully they’ll see a world that looks a lot better than what mine does.

And what I’m reminded of after so many acts of cruelty is that my girls’ future begins with me and all parents. Our children need to be taught how to treat each other with kindness and that begins now. Sadly they’ll learn of all of these horrific events and my only hope is that that won’t be their reality, that their world will look so different, and that human beings will finally get it. We were all created and put here by the same being and if we truly lived a life of happiness, compassion, unity, what a world it would be. My hope is that our species will wake up and realize the error of our ways and live better lives for our kids. Every single person can do better and be better. 

And as of two days ago, I was reminded again just how precious and fragile our lives are when a tragic accident occurred in Disney World to an innocent baby boy. My heart aches for this family, for these parents, and for that sweet boy who lost his life too soon. I can’t stop thinking of this family of four vacationing in such a magical place, just like we had a few weeks ago, when something so horrible happened. After I heard the news I snuck into my girls’ bedrooms to give them one last tearful hug and kiss goodnight. And I couldn’t help but think of the irony in these two events happening one right after the other. Life is so precious and fragile, a real gift, and in a second, a terrifying accident like this poor boy’s ordeal can take it away. That’s the flaw in God’s design but that’s an accident. We don’t need purposeful, violent acts doing the same.

 And just in reading some of the comments on this family’s tragedy I’m disheartened even more in so many people’s lack of compassion and their need to blame someone. In accidents like this where parents lost their baby, people should feel nothing but sympathy and empathy, never judgement. We need to change, our world needs to change. Look in yourself and be a better person, love others, smile at strangers, hug someone if they’re crying, truly treat others how you would want to be treated. 

I look at my girls this rainy morning as I’m typing this post, one snug on the sofa watching Big Hero 6 and the other gobbling down strawberry Cheerios, and I truly thank God I have this moment. I pray that I’ll have a million more with my family. I pray for everyone in Orlando who’s suffered so tremendously this past week. And now more than ever I’m going to hug my girls a lot tighter and enjoy this day with them.



Disney’s Magic Begins: 2016 Vacation Wrap Up!

Finally fourteen months and one more little girl later we returned to Disney World. Not only was this our baby girl’s first trip to Disney but also our first vaca as a family of four aka Dan and my first vacation with two very small little girls. With disposable bottles, squeezable baby foods, containers of formula, and diapers, diapers, diapers all packed in every nook and cranny of our suitcases, we were off early and driving, shuttling, flying, and busing to Disney!

The flying part of any vacation is probably the part I worry the most about, flying wise and in general with small kids. We’ve traveled quite a bit with our first daughter and some flights have certainly been rougher than others, so for this one we weren’t really sure what to expect from our newest flyer. So I packed my Disney backpack aka diaper bag aka snack cooler aka Mommy’s a pack mule for her little girls and we buckled up for that sometimes very long 2 1/2 hour flight. For baby I made sure we had plenty of nibblers from dried fruit and puffs to gold fish and yogurt melts along with the essential bottle for taking off. And then there were the not so small and not so easy to pack baby toys which were overflowing out of the backpack, and yes all of them were played with since a crawling baby only likes sitting for two minutes not two hours. But with her sister occupied beside her eating her bagel while coloring, playing a PBS kids game on the ipad, or watching a Disney favorite, our baby managed to have a cat nip for the first bit leaving the last half with Mommy and Daddy playing pass the potato. But 2 1/2 hours later and we landed in sunny and humid, I mean really humid, Florida! Disney 2016 (29)

A grueling 15 minutes later of repetitive “Mommy are we here yet?” while the pilot slowly parked and everyone disembarked ahead of us, we were finally free! With two girls changed into summer Disney gear and plopped in the double stroller (which was such a blessing!), we headed straight for the Magical Express. Nothing beats catching your first glimpses of Disney at Orlando’s airport, checking in with your magic band, and your girls getting their first princess greetings, you know the fun is just beginning!

During the final leg to Disney, the anticipation was a little too much for our toddler who fell asleep during the intro videos aboard the Magical Express. But not her little sister who’s tiny cat nap seemed enough to beat that early morning wake up call, for now at least. Once we arrived at our home away from home for the week, the Polynesian Villas, our toddler woke without too much trouble, especially once she got her special flower necklace, which she wore proudly for the days ahead.  Disney 2016 (30)

We checked in and took a little walk around our new hotel. We normally stay at the Wilderness Lodge which is by far our favorite Disney home but as our first vaca with DVC we opted for a special treat and decided to try the Polynesian. It was gorgeous and a wonderful change, but I’ll spend a whole post just reviewing the hotel later! So after our toddler took in the tiki man in the lobby and Minnie dressed in her hula skirt in the hall we headed straight to Magic Kingdom via the monorail. We were there in no time and soon enough standing on Main Street staring straight at the castle.

I remember a few years ago on our toddler’s first Disney trip when we finally made it to Magic Kingdom she had just fallen asleep after our long morning of travel. So the fact that her little sister was awake, a little hot and blinky from the bright sun, but taking it all in was really special. She couldn’t get enough of the hustle bustle but her favorite were the Mickey balloons flying above her, someone is just like her sister. So a Mickey balloon for two it was, red was the choice this year and our toddler even got to play the role of a coveted Disney Balloon Cast Member for a minute!  Disney 2016 (4)

Balloon split between four tiny hands, we headed off for our first rides and lunch. Small World, Peter Pan, Cinderella’s Carousel, are always top on the list of firsts and for a certain tiny little girl these I’m sure will become favorites like they are for her sister. Finally it was time for our first Disney meal, a Mickey pretzel and fresh fruit of course for the girls and a turkey leg for this Mommy and Daddy. This is by far one of our favorite lunches at Magic Kingdom, a Frontierland favorite and conveniently located next to the Mickey pretzels! Smoked turkey meat that fills any starving vacationer for their afternoon of fun, absolutely delicious! The only downside are the carnivorous tall, skinny birds that you see lurking around Frontierland, well they just so happen to love turkey legs and aren’t shy about it. Their presence wasn’t exactly welcomed with our toddler who literally fell off her seat trying to escape them, thankfully Mommy and Daddy were there to protect her. 

We decided pre-vacation to take the first day pretty easy and call it an early one, with no dinner reservations. In the past we’ve all been too exhausted, mainly the miniature, to really enjoy a meal so we figured short and sweet this time would be the way to go, absolutely right decision. We enjoyed an afternoon of rides at the park before we got caught in a massive downpour and headed back to the Polynesian. Once the monorail brought us back home we stopped into Captain Cook’s for a “quick dinner,” which thanks to the rain made the wait for dinner a little lengthier than we wanted. But after speaking to the chef I was able to enjoy a sandwich, nothing spectacular, but just enough so we could call it an early night in our Tokelau suite! Disney 2016 (32)

Stay tuned for more Disney fun and gluten free deliciousness from our 2016 Disney Vacation!



VitaMom’s 8 Vacation Essentials For Baby

While I’m working feverishly on my yet to be disclosed project, while moonlighting as Gluten Free Mom To Be, I’m still a VitaMom over on Vitamed’s Mom Blog. And since we just returned from our Disney vacation I thought it was fitting to share my newest VitaMom post on Baby’s Vacation Essentials! Also, stay tuned here for my Disney vaca recap along with a little someone’s first birthday planning!



Gluten Free Disney Favorites And Never Have I Ever Disney Treats Part 3

We’re in the final stretch until our vacation and I for one cannot wait for everything Disney. But of course top on my list is all of the gluten free deliciousness! So I thought I’d share one more gluten free favorite, along with one

Gluten Free Kona Cafe’s Pan-Asian Noodles noodles

It’s been years since I’ve had lomein. I’ve made many attempts to recreate a gluten free version but never came close to making it just right. My once favorite Asian inspired noodle dish has been a thing of the past for quite awhile, until I found Kona Cafe! Perfectly cooked rice noodles with crispy, fresh veggies, and grilled chicken, all coated in a gluten free teriyaki sauce, it’s absolute perfection. Not to mention, portion enough for two people or two meals! This is by far one of my favorite dinners in Disney and is always the one that I look forward to returning to the most. I can’t wait until I can enjoy these Gluten Free Pan-Asian Noodles again!

Never Have I Ever Had Gluten Free Beef Brisket, Frushi, and Lemon Scones! macaron

We’re not total newbies to the Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot, but this year with baby on my hip instead of in my belly I get to eat and drink without restrictions! Normally in Epcot I struggle at lunchtime trying to find something that my picky tastes and diet restrictions will allow. But thanks to the festival, this trip my lunch list is filled with small bites and sweet treats! From barbecue like ribs and brisket to sweets like frushi, scones, and macarons, Gluten Free Gigi has given me quite a few things to look forward to. First on my list though is their new macaron, raspberry with chocolate fudge, brings back amazing memories of their marshmallow one in festivals past!



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